Are You Knight Enough? — Part 2

A look at the Catholic principles and pillars of our Order

Are You Knight Enough?

A look at the Catholic principles and pillars of our Order

Knights of old had a code of conduct which bound them to worship God, their heavenly king, and to serve their earthly lord. They vowed to live by strict principles and die if necessary in carrying out their duties. Knighthood was not a status to be taken on lightly, and men traditionally spent a night in prayer and penance before being dubbed.

As a Knight of Columbus, you have a high calling as well, to live as a practical Catholic in union with the Holy See and to aspire to meet the obligations of the precepts of the Church. You also seek to live by the four principles of the Order – charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. In joining online, you were introduced to four pillars that Knights embody by becoming men of action who lead with faith, protect their families, serve others and defend their values.

These four principles and companion pillars stem from the vision and mission that Venerable Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, established for the Order. In embracing these principles and living according to these pillars, we build on the foundation set by a holy priest and the handful of Catholic men he gathered around him.

Let us look at the principles and pillars that define our lives as Knights.

Four Principles

Charity – Following the command of Jesus to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself (see Mt 23:37-40), Knights engage in a wide range of activities to serve God by serving others in body, soul and spirit. Popular programs include Food for Families and Coats for Kids, providing basic necessities to thousands of needy children and families each year; Special Olympics for the intellectually disabled; and the Ultrasound Initiative, which has placed more than 1000 life-saving machines in pregnancy centers that counsel women to choose the beauty of life. There is no better way to experience love and compassion than by helping others, a call Knights answer every day.   

Unity – None of us is as good alone as all of us are together. United in the Catholic faith, Knights support one another in times of joy and grief and every moment in between. We form a network of men and their families dedicated to building their homes as a domestic church of faith and love, and work in union with priests to support parishes in the mission of faith formation and evangelization.

Fraternity – Networks of Knights provide men with something that is too often lacking in today’s fragmented society – authentic fraternal fellowship lived out in councils, parishes, online, and in common faith and worthy projects. Working together, we know the truth of the biblical statement: “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov 27:17).

Patriotism – Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they American, Canadian, Mexican, Cuban, Filipino, Polish, Dominican, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, French or Korean, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether in public or in private, Knights remind the world that Catholics serve their countries best by living out the principles of their faith.

Four Pillars

Lead with Faith – You are called, as a Catholic man, to draw closer to God and lead others in your family toward the joys of heaven. This is a grave obligation and a great opportunity to rise to the challenge and live with direction and purpose. As a man, you are needed, and as a Knight, you are being formed to lead with faith.

Protect Your Family – The duty to protect is more than an obligation; it is a desire deep within a man’s heart. One important way today that a man is called to protect his family is by providing a measure of financial security. As a Knight of Columbus, you are uniquely positioned to do this through the Order’s fraternal insurance program that is based on shared faith, vision and values.

Serve Others – As a Knight, you have opportunities every day to serve as you unite with others in charity. In the last recorded year, our good deeds and donations added up to $185 million to charitable causes and more than 75 million volunteer hours for worthy projects. These numbers represent thousands of individuals and families helped and countless lives touched for the better, including the lives of the Knights who serve.

Defend Your Values – As a Catholic man in the modern world, your voice matters. It becomes a greater force for good when joined with other Knights who are united for a worthy cause. This is the benefit – the multiplier effect – of belonging to a Catholic organization of 1.9 million men who stand for the greater good. Among the important values we defend are culture of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty at home and in the Middle East, where Christians are persecuted daily. United with brother Knights, you are called to step up as a Catholic citizen, even if it means being countercultural.

The bottom line of knighthood is this: You are called to serve as you are being prepared for heaven.